Almost everybody has encountered the Gospel passage where Our Lord is tempted by the Pharisees, who try to corner Him with a conundrum over whether to pay Caesar’s taxes. I even began my book with that passage.
Our Lord tells His antagonists to show him the Roman currency featuring Caesar’s inscription, followed with His commandment to:
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
I mention this scripture as a point of reference; not because I wish to revisit the many problems with taxation, but to focus on the more important element: our obligation to render unto God!
I thought of one great way to do this. Follow these instructions:
- Take out your Rosary or Crucifix
- Whose inscription is on it?
- Do you see where it says “INRI”? Most Rosaries have that at the top of the Cross.
- What does that mean? Well, it’s a Latin abbreviation for Iesu Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum. It translates to Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. This is what Pontius Pilate had his men label the Holy Cross.
- We commemorate this inscription, which was also made in Greek and Hebrew, as part of our devotion to the Holy Cross.
- As Our Lord made the Cross holy, to be an instrument of our salvation, we venerate all aspects of it, including, by association, its languages.
- Since Latin has been deemed a holy language, sanctified by Our Lord’s passion and death on the Cross, we ought to revere it. Our Lord made Latin holy, whereas it was not yet so when it merely dignified the name of Caesar on the currency.
- Therefore, Render Unto God . . . with an abundant use and love of Latin!
How can you do that? There are many ways: praying the Rosary in Latin, assisting at the Traditional Latin Mass, promoting more use of Latin in the Novus Ordo Mass (see the video below), praying the various litanies in Latin, et cetera.
Notice that all of those involve prayer? Again, it’s because Latin is a prayerful and holy language, and one of the treasures of the Church . . . particularly within its LATIN rite. We honor God with its pious usage.
There was once a politician named Teddy Roosevelt, who liked to remark about the need to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” We, as Catholics, do not need somebody like Roosevelt to instruct us of that. By virtue of baptism and confirmation, we are imbued with the supernatural strength to carry a big stick (the Cross!), follow Our Lord, and speak softly with him in prayerful supplication. I suggest we utter some of those softly-spoken words in Latin, so that we may further love and glorify God, being ever mindful of his sorrowful passion, that hefty price He paid for our salvation.
What ever could we do to repay him?
Render unto God!
Ave Maria, Deo Gratias!
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum!